The gnomes have done their bit, the various craftspeople have furnished the space and it is ready for occupation.
Never say no to a Medicinal
is written above the door, on which there is a thoroughly indiscreet notice which says
ON THE OUTSIDE
The stairs with ornate metal balustrades and very highly-polished dark-wood bannister lead down to a cellar which is decorated in blues at the green end of their spectrum, with drapes and decorative plasterwork around the ceiling. The paintwork is white.
The weather is starting to get cold, and the long forks for toasting bread or marshmallows, and a spit for large roasts, and a shovel for roasting chestnuts, all near the huge fire round which there are chaises and footstools and a kist full of warm shawls so that any chilly tart can wrap herself snugly, have been brought back out from storage where they were put for the summer, ready against our later need. The punchbowls and mulling-pan are available but not yet in place by the inglenook, and the firewood is there in case the nights grow cold.
In the usual alcove off the main cellar is the aga, and also the other stove; there is where the freezers and the food-cupboards are to be found.
The Other Cupboard is of course in the wall near the Chatelaine’s chaise, and she holds its key.
The trapeze is still outside, as is the trampoline, but the hot-tub and jacuzzi are at the end of the corridor past the piano and behind the velvet curtain; near the piano is the box with various pub-games: the shove-ha’penny board, the dominoes and the cards.
The billiard table and the astrolabe are to the other side of the lounging area with chaises, and the gin-lake is beyond them, past the racks with the wine…
The On Sweet has a re-repaired metal mirror, and has been re-feathered for the comfort of That Bird; the glitter-ball is turning gently and throwing flecks of light around the ceiling.
Darrington the butler, Ewbank, Honoré FitzMichael the pantler, the Page Three Pages, the Underfoot Men and the re-upholstering lady Gwyneth and her team of seamstresses are all to hand as needed, just as they always are, having made their way from the old cellar; so are the Fancy Italian, Luigi to make us tea, Antonio the coffee-maker and Fritz the chocolatier.
I am hoping for a kissing-bough?